Innovative musicians invite you to turn on your phone and take control of their Norwich gigs

NNF16. Adnams Spiegeltent. Broken Back. Photo: submitted.

NNF16. Adnams Spiegeltent. Broken Back. Photo: submitted. - Credit: submitted

Innovative band Tin Men and the Telephone is asking Norwich audiences to turn on their phones and take control of the show. Arts correspondent EMMA KNIGHTS finds out more.

Everyday sounds combine with jazz, hip hop and more in the eclectic music of Tin Men and the Telephone - and when the innovative musicians take to the stage they tell the audience to switch on their phones and take control.

The Tin Men - pianist Tony Roe, bassist Pat Cleaver and drummer Bobby Petrov - are bringing their unique style of music to Norwich Playhouse on Wednesday and Thursday and the trio hope everyone will get involved with the shows.

When asked what was in store for the audiences, Tony said: 'I would say it's always surprising, it's visual, it has humour and of course a lot of music, in the end it's still about the music.'

When asked how he would best describe the Amsterdam-based band's sound, Tony said they took inspiration from everyday life and tried to turn everything into music.

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'I have always been using strange things as the starting point for the music,' he said, adding that they have previously created work from the sounds of cows in fields and that he has even recorded a fly buzzing around his studio.

'It's improvised music with multi-media where we use input from outside. We use either video or sounds and preferably input from the audience, and we do that from a smart phone app we have developed. People can comment during the concert and tell us what they want.'

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The band has been together since 2009, and first started getting the audience involved via their mobile phones in 2013.

Tony said while phones are often seen as 'the enemy' by musicians for how they disturb performances, the band decided to instead incorporate them into their art.

In fact, part of the reason for the band's name is because they used to have an old 1950s telephone which Tony said was 'like the fourth member of the band.'

Nowadays the telephone part of their name links in with their quest to get the audience involved via their specially developed Tinmendo app. Using the app people can vote on what direction the music should go, send short audio or video messages to be included in live compositions, control the stage lighting and more.

Tony said: 'It started off as an experiment but it turned out a lot of fun for people and people feel a lot more involved.'

Tin Men and the Telephone is at Norwich Playhouse on Wednesday and Thursday at 7.30pm. Tickets £16.50. To book tickets, visit or call 01603 766400.

To take part in the interactive element audience members need to download the free Tinmendo app onto their phones before the show.

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